Promoting The Engagement of Dental Professionals in Tobacco Cessation
Almarzouki, Fatima S.
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction: Since more than 50% of smokers visit a dentist at least once annually, dental practice settings provide a unique opportunity to assist tobacco users in achieving tobacco abstinence. However, compared to other health care providers, dental professionals are less likely to address smoking cessation and counseling with their patients. Aim: To explore the impact of a single session educational program, designed for dental professionals, to enhance their skills in delivering smoking cessation services and treating tobacco dependence. Method: A review of dental charts was completed in 2 dental offices to compare the delivery of smoking cessation services provided by dental professionals at a baseline visit and 4 weeks after a single session educational program. Results: Cessation counseling and referring patients to programs that provide smoking cessation services were not provided to any patients in either office before the program. However, after the educational program, 12 patients were provided counseling which represents a significant 20% increase (95% CI=6.7-33.3, p-value= 0.0003). Nineteen patients were referred to NYS Smokers' Quitline after the educational intervention, representing a significant 31% increase (95% CI=19.3- 41.7,p-value<0.0001). No cessation medications were prescribed either before or after the educational program. Conclusion: Despite their unique position and apparent effectiveness in assisting patients to quit smoking, the majority of dental practitioners currently provide no or minimal assistance in quitting to their patients. These preliminary findings suggests that dental offices are receptive to an educational program on smoking cessation To empower dental professionals to follow a standardized protocol to systematically assist their patients to quit tobacco usage, changes must take place in both the way that dentists and students are taught about providing cessation. Finally, Evidence-based educational programs for dental students, dental hygiene students as well as practicing dentists and hygienists must be provided.